The Phileas Club 88 – Alpha Male Handshakes


On this episode we talk about:

  • French election results and “round three”
  • Trump news controversies for May
  • Brazil political turmoil

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  1. Sopello says:

    First of all, thanks to all of you for this great podcast. Thanks for bursting my bubble!
    I am Canadian, so I wanted to add a reaction to what was said by Brian or Tony – sorry, I cannot remember which one – about our health system.
    We are, as Patrick said, a federation, and health falls under provincial jurisdiction, which means that the federal government as (mostly) nothing to do with it. Each province has a universal health system, so it is possible for a federation to offer that kind of coverage to its population. But my point is not about this.
    It is about Canadians going to the States to get some health care. To my knowledge, the main motives might be:
    1) because of a really rare decease, for which there is no care available in Canada;
    2) to get some care faster – but you have to be rich to do so;
    3) we are a big country, so sometimes going south is faster than going east or west, and since health is provincial, it is not always easy to go from one province to another for health care.
    In any case, it is not the majority of Canadians that does this. Our system has its own limits, but still, it is pretty good, and free.
    For me, it is inconceivable not to have that kind of health care access, I think it is a key of living together as a society.
    Which brings me to this final comment. Since the States are our big neighbor, we get big media coverage when things like ACA comes into place down south. A few decades ago, the province of Saskatchewan was the last to get a universal health care system in Canada and it was a real big deal. I’ve seen a great documentary about it and everything that was said then against that project is exactly what we ear now in the States. Same arguments, same groups, like health insurance companies trying to keep the status quo… And I am pretty sure that now, no one in Saskatchewan wish to go back.
    Anyways, thanks again for this wonderful podcast!

    • patrick says:

      Thanks for the feedback Sopello. I’ve gotten a few responses like this in the past few days, and I really think that, in this case specifically, the anti HC people are just plain wrong. As I said during the show, of all the controversial topics (which shouldn’t be controversial) between the american left and the american right, this one is the one that holds up the least. It’s just absolutely ridiculous and their arguments just don’t hold up. It’s time the US move on, and I hope they do soon…

    • Dorkmaster Flek says:

      Thanks for speaking up about this Sopello! I was just coming here as a fellow Canadian to say the same thing literally as I was listening to the podcast, because as much as I appreciate the discussion surrounding this, Tony is just plain wrong on that point. Several people including Trump himself during the debates last year have said the same thing in the past, and it is simply false.

      A very small percentage of Canadians may go to the US for healthcare as you said for a very rare disease there may not be treatment for, but also wealthy people getting non-essential procedures such as plastic surgery. The numbers I’ve seen from reports in our media say around 1% of Canadians from the previous year, and the numbers have actually gone down in recent years. The point is, this is a commonly repeated myth you can spend 30 seconds Googling to dispel.

      Let me be clear: I’m not saying our system is perfect. Wait times can be an issue because of more people having access to the system in the first place. What we don’t generally have is people deciding not to see a doctor when they’re sick because they’re worried about the cost, which is something that I literally watched happen. This is something I see and hear about on a daily basis from my friends who live in the US. One of them had to go to the local emergency room while we were at a convention in January for kidney stones and ended up with a $4000 bill, and now we’re doing a fundraiser to help him raise the money. That simply doesn’t happen here.

      Our system is far from perfect, but by and large Canadians are pretty happy with it overall and we absolutely think it’s better than the system in the US, especially considering the new bill that just passed.

  2. Just wanted to chime in on the discussion regarding healthcare in the USA and the comment made about how anyone can be treated regardless of whether they are insured. Unfortunately I have personal experience that speaks to the opposite. In 1995 my mother moved from California to Oregon and she immediately applied for the Oregon health care since she qualified for it. While waiting for everything to process, she ran out of her heart medication. It was something she took ‘as needed’ as opposed to a regular daily dose. The move was stressful than expected and she used more than she thought she would. She went to see a doctor who refused to see her because she didn’t yet have her state health cards. They were mailed the day she died. I’m not saying that things would have worked out differently had they seen her anyway but it’s not always the case that you can be treated regardless of insurance.
    While it’s all well and good to say go to the doctor anyway, I know many who won’t and will just ‘deal’ with whatever is going on because they know the cost that will be thrust upon them even if they have coverage.
    I’m currently in a quandary where I should be looking for another job but because I have a pre-existing condition and most jobs require a 90 day waiting period before insurance benefits kick in, I’m hesitant to do so because right this moment I have coverage and that is more important to me than the other reasons that I might be looking.
    I really wish there was an easy solution and now I’m curious about the documentary Sopello mentioned.

    • patrick says:

      Thanks for the comment Kacaia. Again, another one basically saying the same thingn… What makes me the angriest is that other systems not only work better, but end up being cheaper per person by a significant margin. The only group this doesn’t help is the insurance companies. Such a waste…

      And I’m so sorry for what happened; I’m sure it’s still painful even though it was more than 20 years ago. 🙁

    • Sopello says:

      Sorry for the delay! And so sorry about your story.
      I was sure that the documentary was made by CBC (our public television), but it seems that I was wrong. I found this video and I am pretty sure it is the one I have seen a few years ago. The NFB does great documentaries (amongst other things) and it is reliable. Enjoy!

  3. Marlon "GuyFromTrinidad" says:

    Hi Patrick, you know I love you and I love the Phileas club (can you fell the but coming)…but I actually expected this episode to have a little bit of Trump (I was really hoping to get Turki’s reaction to the visit as he is you know Saudi Arabian and some European views of the G7 and NATO meetings, and then the other stuff that is happening in the world. But we got another lets try to understand Trump episode. I love your conservative guests but just invite one of them to the show along with your regular guests to be honest I couldn’t finish the show. On healthcare in America I suggest you do some reading because you’re arguments tend to sound weak, the hyperbolic, people dying in the streets thing….nah, the actual people and children with pre exsisting conditions being shut out ..yes, because having affordable health care is really about catering to the most vulnerable who are not necessarily as was characterised in the show as the lazy person who doesn’t take care of themselves.

    Love the show

    • patrick says:

      You’re asking me to argue reason. This is what I try to fight on every episode like this, and it’s getting harder and harder: the point isn’t to argue, it’s to listen. There are many many outlets that argue, and they do it much better than I would, that’s not what I’m trying to do here, as you know. Here, we understand what the other side actually thinks of the issue: many of them actually dislike healthcare because they view it as a way for irresponsible to get out of the consequences of what they did. If I hadn’t listened, I wouldn’t necessarily know that’s what they think. And now I can react to it. It doesn’t matter that it’s wrong; again, the point isn’t to do an exposé on the realities of healthcare; the point is to listen to the reasons why they are on different sides of this issue. That’s one of the reasons.
      As to the people dying in the street, it isn’t so much of a hyperbole. Sure, the street part might be, but the dying isn’t. Hospitals will treat the urgent symptoms (because they have to) and send them home. Their system is horrendous, it’s expensive, and it doesn’t work.

      So no, it wasn’t fun for me. But I still did it, because I’m not losing sight of my goal, no matter how angry I get. But it still makes me angry, especially on this topic (I think that was made quite clear).

    • patrick says:

      Oh, and about Turki / Trump: I don’t think we would have a very constructive conversation on this topic, given the circonstances in his country. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, and depending on how things go, this could have very real consequences. So… yeah.

      • Marlon "GuyFromTrinidad" says:

        No probs, I sometimes forget we are all living under different systems. Its also that I sometimes worry for you as well cause you care so much, (yeah I am reacting to that Trump/Paris Climate agreement right now) And to be honest I wasn’t asking for an expose on health care specifically, but there is so much misinformation being shared on both sides of the argument in America it frustrates me when I hear people repeat them. I was glad to see the Canadians chime in on this thread . Keep doing what you are doing my friend. And take a Caribbean vacation sometime 🙂

      • patrick says:

        Haha, a Caribbean vacation sounds really nice to be honest. Although if we keep it up, in a few years I might get that kind of weather right here in Finland. 😀

  4. Don Wood says:

    Thanks for the wonderful Phileas Club concept.

    If you decide to do another show on the American Health Care system, please put on an American who can explain from the other side. Either Tom Merritt or maybe Randy Jordan(?) would do well) While you tried valiantly to be the voice of reason, when they would imply you couldn’t possibly understand, with your French perspective, why proper health care wouldn’t work in the U.S. because of 50 conflicting states, you need an American to call bullshit. The anti-health folks have done everything possible to sabotage the system. One of them pointed out that some states have one provider. The extent to which the system is a mess is due in no small part to conservative amendments to the original bill as give-a-ways to insurance and drug companies while fighting the option for a single payer option to have been included.

    If participation is mandatory then all the issues go away. One big pool of 330 million rather than high risk pools and other nonsense. It is as if they don’t understand the concept of insurance. Sure you may be young healthy now but eventually you too will be old so the payments all work out in the end.

    Side note: I suspect this whole Trump leaving the Paris climate accords thing is a distraction. The more time the news media focus on that the less time they have for the Russian scandals. After he has milked all the distraction value out of it he can he will agree to stay. Then he’ll get praise for not being a stupid as every one already expects. Double win!

    • patrick says:

      I agree with you, but I do think that I said what you said, calling bullshit on what they were putting forth, certainly more than I have ever done in the past. Going further, details or no details, would have transformed the conversation into one where one side tries to convince the other, and not only do we know how those go, we also have a LOT of them available already. I do agree that it is incredibly frustrating though, and it certainly was for me. But the point was to listen to them, not to convince them that they are wrong. Even though they are… 🙂

  5. Seth Krieger says:

    Normally, I like Brian’s input on the show. On political, military, security, and terrorists his input is valuable and level-headed. I got the impression, however, that he is not as well-informed about the healthcare system. He kinda got stuck on Medicaid being different in each state, but overlooked the fact that the much larger federal Medicare plan for Americans 65 and older is a national plan. Medicare uses a network of local administrators, but the rules, coverage, etc, is nationwide. The first thing single-payer advocates usually suggest is to simply extend Medicare to all citizens, regardless of age.

    The answer to the your question about why America has not scrapped the current system for a cheaper and more effective single-payer system is clear. There are very powerful stakeholders (drug companies, insurance companies, medical supply companies, healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, along with many more) who are making billions upon billions of dollars with the system as it is. Even to get “Obamacare” passed required major concessions to those stakeholders, which is why Obamacare is such a small baby-step toward what many of us earnestly wanted.

    For a thoughtful analysis of the American healthcare conundrum, I would recommend a recent episode of Dan Carlin’s podcast “Common Sense” (episode 314, “Unhealthy Numbers”), which can be played from, or you can see the report he is discussing at

  6. I’m a little late for the discussion, and it might look petty, but I really think it’s important to correct some factual mistakes Guilherme made when describing both Lava Jato and our healthcare system.
    Healthcare here is really simple actually. We have both private clinics and a public healthcare system called SUS (initialism for United Health System). As of 2014, 80% of our population depended exclusively of SUS to receive medicine and treatment. The other 20% used it too, but paid for part of their health needs, even through health insurances (not so different from the US ones) or with money from their own pocket. It’s important to remember that Brazil is a huge country with a gigantic inequality, so it’s not a surprise that someone believes all healthcare comes from health insurances, however this is couldn’t be more far from true. Not only SUS works amazingly well considering it’s challenges and finances, it pays for many things that health insurances are supposed to handle. From medicine to complex treatments, SUS tries to cover it all when health insurance plans fails. Last year, the government decided it needed to sue the health insurance companies looking to retrieve 4.2 billion reais that the government spent treating health insurance clients. SUS has award winning programs for the treatment of AIDS and MS. In conclusion, we do have a public healthcare system. It’s problems are the problems of having a unequal, corrupt, huge and poor country. Finally, there is no such thing as healthcare attached to the profession you chose.
    We have three police forces: civil, federal and militar. Making a huge simplification, they are responsible for investigation of crimes exclusively inside the country, investigation of crimes that transcend the country (drug traffic or international tax evasion, for example) and patrol, respectively. Lava Jato started in 2014, as an investigation concerning irregularities in a purchase made by Petrobras (Brazilian national oil company). From that point on it kind of snowballed. It had nothing to do initially with the will of a noble judge (thank god, we still have some kind of état de droit). However, Lava Jato, as Guilherme showed, created a witch hunt, and some of the judges involved in the condemnations acquired a hero status with a huge part of the population. In midst of all that, Dilma Rousseff was impeached, with accusations that had no relation to corruption (it had to do with the budget and how and when a president is allowed to change it). Michel Temer, the vp now president, is currently under investigation, as Guilherme pointed out, but if he is impeached we will not be a country without president, that’s just silly. The leader of the chamber of deputies will be president with the duty of calling an indirect election.
    That’s it. Thanks for the great show Patrick. Now I will start listening the next episode, in order to not arrive late at the party again.

    • Not petty at all, thanks a bunch for the details! And I hope you enjoy the next episode; all about healthcare in Europe… 🙂

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